Strasbourg, 26.11.2018 – Andrej Hunko (Germany, UEL) and Reina de Bruijn-Wezeman (Netherlands, ALDE), members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), will travel to Georgia from 27 to 29 November to observe the conduct of the second round of the presidential election, alongside observers from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, European Parliament and OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
They are due to meet the two candidates, the Central Election Commission, and representatives of the media, before observing the ballot on Wednesday 28 November.
A joint press conference is scheduled on Thursday 29 November at 2.30 p.m. at the Biltmore Hotel, Grand Royal Ballroom, 29 Rustaveli Ave, Tbilisi.
On 13 September, the OSCE Secretary General, Thomas Greminger, joined the EUMM for a briefing near Odzisi at the Administrative Boundary Line.
The Secretary General was welcomed by the Head of the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM), Erik Høeg, who gave an overview of the present activities of the Mission and challenges to stability. Mr. Høeg, in this context, also highlighted the important role of the OSCE and EUMM as co-facilitators of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meetings in Ergneti. The OSCE Secretary General was briefed on specific dynamics by monitors from the EUMM Field Office in Mtskheta.
Secretary General Greminger thanked the Mission for the chance to see developments at first hand and expressed his appreciation for the role that the EUMM plays in monitoring and responding to events. He also welcomed the excellent cooperation between the EUMM and relevant OSCE units.
Joint statement of the Group of Friends of Georgia 10 years since the Russian military invasion of GeorgiaWednesday, 08 August 2018 13:00
This statement is made on behalf of Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States of America.
We reaffirm our full support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
Ten years since the Russian military invasion of Georgia, we remain deeply concerned over the continued occupation of Georgian territories and underline the need for the peaceful resolution of the conflict, based on full respect for the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and the fundamental norms and principles of international law.
We urge the Russian Federation to reverse its recognition of the so-called independence of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.
In the ten years since the August 2008 war, Georgia has made progress in strengthening democracy and good governance, as well as in the process of European and Euro-Atlantic integration and economic development. It is disappointing that these benefits cannot be enjoyed by the residents of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions. We believe a peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict would have a transformative effect not only on Georgia but on the region as a whole.
We support the Geneva International Discussions (GID) as an important format to address the security, human rights, and humanitarian challenges stemming from the unresolved conflict.
Ten years after the establishment of the GID, we regret the lack of progress on the core issues of the discussions, including the non-use of force, establishing international security arrangements in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions aimed at providing security and stability on the ground, and ensuring the safe and dignified return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and refugees.
We call upon the Russian Federation to fully implement the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, inter alia to withdraw its forces from the occupied territories of Georgia.
We support the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) in Gali and Ergneti and encourage the participants to find proper solutions for the safety and humanitarian needs of the conflict-affected population.
We condemn the conclusion of the so-called integration and alliance treaties by the Russian Federation with Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions, which constitutes a clear violation of the principles of international law by the Russian Federation and directly contradicts OSCE commitments.
We express our deep concern over the increase of Russian military exercises and its further military build-up in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.
We condemn the gross violations of rights related to freedom of movement and residence and to property, as well as the restriction of education in one’s native language. We underline that the so-called borderization through placement of artificial obstacles and fortifying the occupation line with barbed and razor wire fences, as well as closures of socalled crossing points, further aggravates the humanitarian situation on the ground.
We condemn the killing of Georgian IDPs Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria, and Davit Basharuli, and urge the Russian Federation, as the state exercising effective control over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, to remove any obstacles to bringing the perpetrators to justice.
In this context, we support preventive steps by Georgia aimed at eradication of the sense of impunity and aggravation of human rights in Georgia’s occupied regions, and we note the adoption of the Decree of the Government of Georgia on approval of the Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili list based on the relevant Resolution of the Parliament of Georgia.
We remain deeply concerned over the ethnic discrimination in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions and the mass destruction of houses of Georgian IDPs, illustrations of Russia’s purposeful policy aimed at completely erasing the traces of ethnic Georgian population and cultural heritage in the occupied regions.
We support the voluntary return of IDPs and refugees to the places of their origin in safety and dignity.
We call upon the Russian Federation to enable access by international human rights monitoring mechanisms to the occupied territories of Georgia.
We commend the efficient work and contribution of the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) to prevent the escalation of tensions on the ground and call upon the Russian Federation to allow the EUMM to fully implement its mandate and enable the mission’s access to Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.
We welcome Georgia’s compliance with the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and its unilateral commitment not to use force, and call on the Russian Federation to reciprocate, to affirm and implement a commitment not to use force against Georgia.
We support the new peace initiative of the Government of Georgia, ‘A Step to a Better Future’, aimed at improving the humanitarian and socio-economic conditions of people residing in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions and fostering people-to-people contact and confidence building between divided communities to the benefit of all people.
We encourage the OSCE’s engagement in the process of finding a peaceful resolution to the Russia-Georgia conflict and support the implementation of confidence-building measures with an aim to rebuild trust and improve the living conditions of the conflict-affected communities.
We regret the closure of the OSCE mission to Georgia in 2009.
We encourage the OSCE participating States to agree on the opening of the OSCE cross-dimensional mission in Georgia for the benefit of the conflict-affected population, including a monitoring capacity able to operate unhindered across the occupation line. The mission will considerably strengthen the OSCE’s engagement in the GID and IPRMs, as well as in implementation of confidence-building measures.
The friends will continue to raise awareness of the conflict and the need for its peaceful resolution.
Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the Tenth Anniversary of the August 2008 conflict in GeorgiaWednesday, 08 August 2018 10:27
On the tenth anniversary of the 2008 conflict in Georgia, the Secretary-General recalls that it is a reminder of the need to resolve this and other protracted conflicts in Europe. This requires increased commitment by the relevant actors, backed by strong political will and a reinvigoration of mediation processes.
The Secretary-General urges all the participants in the Geneva International Discussions to adopt a constructive, forward-looking approach that would allow this indispensable mechanism to fulfill its mandate. All concerned should prioritize progress through appropriate dialogue and refrain from divisive policies and unilateral actions that may adversely impact regional peace and security.
The Secretary-General recalls that while the Geneva International Discussions and the Incident Response and Prevention Mechanism have substantially contributed to strengthening stability in recent years, more should be done on key security and humanitarian issues, including those related to the plight of the many internally displaced persons and refugees. The United Nations will continue to fully support this important mechanism and work with the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to achieve progress on all issues.
The President of Georgia, H.E. Giorgi Margvelashvili has hosted a meeting with OSCE Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Ambassador Günther Bächler at the Presidential Palace. The meeting has also been attended by the Ambassador of Italy, Antonio Enrico Bartoli, as the Ambassador of the country holding the OSCE chairmanship.
Conversation at the meeting touched upon the situation in the occupied territories of Georgia, issues of conflict resolution and security environment in the region.
President Margvelashvili has spoken about the International Geneva Discussions and the role of OSCE in conflict resolution issues.
The meeting, also attended by Head of Administration of the President Mr. Giorgi Abashishvili and Advisor to the President for Foreign Affairs Mr. Tengiz Pkhaladze also focused on negative impacts on freedom of movement and rights of Georgian citizens caused by the installation of barbed wire fences and banners.
D. Zalkaliani has met with the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human RightsWednesday, 25 October 2017 11:39
Georgian First Deputy Foreign Minister David Zalkalianimet with the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Ingibjörg Gísladóttir.
Discussions focused on issues relating to co-opertaion between Georgia and ODIHR, the ongoing reforms in Georgia and steps taken towards consolidation of democracy. David Zalkaliani thanked the ODIHR Director for assigning observers to monitor the nation-wide local elections. Ingibjörg Gísladóttir was provided with with detailed information regarding the difficult security and human rights situation in Georgia’s occupied territories. Special attention was paid to the need to create international mechanisms in the occupied territories. David Zalkaliani and Ingibjörg Gísladóttir also spoke about future plans for co-operation between Georgia and ODIHR.
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Special Representative on the South Caucasus, Kristian Vigenin (MP, Bulgaria), will be travelling to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia from 24-30 September for talks with government officials, parliamentary leaders and civil society representatives in each country.
The Special Representative is expected to particularly address the impact that the protracted conflicts are having on the lives of people living in the region.
“It is far too easy to get lost in the statistics of ceasefire breaches and technical movements. For the people in the region these are not abstract concepts, but impact their well-being in a real way, and I hope to bring greater attention to the real human consequences of the protracted conflicts,” said Special Representative Vigenin.
Vigenin has regularly highlighted the role that parliamentary dialogue can play in conflict resolution processes. He plans to use the opportunity of the visits to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia to speak with a range of political actors and civil society representatives on current events including democratic developments in each of the countries.
Vigenin was appointed Special Representative in February 2016 by the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. In his mandate, he is tasked with promoting dialogue in all segments of society, in particular at the parliamentary level, in order to encourage reconciliation and rehabilitation with regard to the protracted conflicts in the region.
This week’s visit is part of a range of activities he is undertaking in his role as Special Representative. Vigenin is a former Foreign Minister of Bulgaria and currently serves as Deputy Head of OSCE PA's Bulgarian Delegation.
Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze has met the Co-chairs of the Geneva International DiscussionsWednesday, 17 May 2017 16:30
16 May 2017, Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze held a meeting with the Co-chairs from the EU, UN and OSCE. The Minister discussed with the Co-chairs the ways to increase the effectiveness of the Geneva International Discussions. Mikheil Janelidze highlighted the need to achieve progress on such issues as the non-use of force, creation of international security mechanisms and return of refugees and internally displaced persons. The Minister emphasized the leading role of the Co-chairs in this regard. Mikheil spoke about the importance of the international community’s principled position on the illegal processes ongoing in Georgia’s occupied territories, as well as about the necessity of implementation of the ceasefire agreement by the Russian Federation. The Co-chairs highly assessed the Georgian Government’s peace policy and efforts towards the peaceful resolution of the conflict. For his part, the Minister thanked them for their contribution to the peacekeeping process.
The First Vice-Speaker, Tamar Chugoshvili stated that according to OSCE experts Georgia has made significant progress in terms of freedom of media compared to 2012. “They attitude is that Georgia has recently made significant steps in terms of media freedom and the general milieu is essentially different from the situation before 2012. It was unequivocally expressed”, - T. Chugoshvili stated after the meeting with OSCE experts
At the meeting with the Lithuanian expert, Dainius Radzevičius and the Advisor to OSCE representative on Freedom of Media, Aidar Botagarov, attended by Majority MPs, Nino Goguadze and Irina Pruidze, the parties considered existing media milieu and OSCE cooperation in this regards.
As T. Chugoshvili stated, OSCE cooperation format will be known after the visit of the experts. “We have the opportunity to host OSCE High Commissioners on Media Issues due to the speculations that allegedly we encounter challenges in terms of freedom of media. It is important that OSCE representatives visit Georgia to in situ study the situation and issue the recommendations about the form of cooperation of OSCE with Georgia. It can be the Media Ombudsman for instance, or a long-term expert mission. We have no answer yet but will have their final recommendations after the mission”.
According to her, in terms of freedom of media and media quality, Georgia can progress to the new stage and establish higher standards. “It is important that OSCE renders support in this process”.